Council To Consider Changes To Grading Structure To Ensure Living Wage

Dumfries and Galloway Council considers the Living Wage to be the single most important contribution to tackling poverty across our region and ensures that all of our employees are paid at least this hourly amount.  At the meeting the new Economy and Resources (E&R) Committee (12 Sept) Members will be asked to approve recommended changes to the pay and grading structure which will fully embed payments of the Living Wage to all employees.

All Scottish Local Authorities have committed to pay the SLGLW as a minimum to all employees.  Dumfries and Galloway Council has paid this rate as a minimum to all of our employees since 2012 as part of our ongoing commitment to tackle low in-work pay. The rate is set by COSLA annually in line with the local government pay award. It is derived from the Living Wage Foundation rate, calculated on the basic cost of living and defined as the basic amount needed to enjoy a basic, but socially acceptable standard of living.

As of April 2019, this amounts to £9.07 per hour and it is currently paid to as a supplement to the normal hourly rate to all eligible employees. This payment is included in the calculation of pensions and other relevant allowances. However, by continuing the process to pay as a supplement this has caused confusion at the bottom end of the pay scale, resulting in no difference between lower paid staff and those with line-management responsibility. Over time this will damage morale and cause recruitment and retention difficulties, challenging the integrity of the pay and grading structure.

Members of E&R will be asked to agree to the implementation of the revised pay and grading structure by removing any rates of pay which currently fall below the SLGLW. Distinctions will also be restored between pay bands 1,2 and 3 to recognise the differences in demands for each role within these grades. All costs of implementation have been considered through a number of options, with effect from 1 April 2020.

The cost of paying the SLGLW as a supplement (as at 1.4.19) is £824k. The 3% pay award for 2020/21 increases the SLGLW rate from £9.07 to £9.34, at a cost of £847k. Consolidation does not affect any other bands further up the pay scale. It only applies to bands 1,2 and 3, removing the supplement payment.

Chair of Economy and resources Committee, Rob Davidson said: “Dumfries and Galloway Council originally became an accredited with becoming a Living Wage Employer in June 2015. Paying a good wage for a good job is very important to us, and this is part of our ongoing anti-Poverty work to ensure people have a decent standard of living. We believe that this not only gives the advantage of helping to attract new staff, but also values and retains the workforce we already have.”

Archie DryburghVice Chair Archie Dryburgh said: “This is an this is an issue which needs corrected as it challenges the integrity of the Council’s job evaluation and pay structure. Low pay makes it difficult for employees to find time for community and family life and we have a duty to address this. “